Russian operatives used Facebook Events to remotely organize political protests in the US, including a 2016 anti-immigration rally in Idaho, according to The Daily Beast.
The social media giant said it “shut down several promoted events as part of the takedown we described last week,” The Daily Beast reported Monday. The news site said the confirmation marks the first time the company has publicly acknowledged the existence of such events organized using the site’s event management and invitation tool.
Less than a week ago, Facebook revealed it hadto inauthentic accounts likely linked to Russia during the US presidential election. Coupled with that disclosure, the latest incident underscores how Facebook can be used to influence not only opinion but behavior as well.
Although many of the events had already been deleted from Facebook, some remnants still exist in search engine caches. One such event was an August 2016 rally held in Twin Falls, Idaho, a rural town that’s been accepting refugees for decades.
“Due to the town of Twin Falls, Idaho, becoming a center of refugee resettlement, which led to the huge upsurge of violence towards American citizens, it is crucial to draw society’s attention to this problem,” the event notice reportedly said.
The event was reportedly hosted by a group calling itself “SecuredBoarders,” an anti-immigration community identified as a Russian puppet group. The Facebook page had 133,000 followers when Facebook closed it last month, The Daily Beast reported.
It wasn’t immediately clear how many such events were created using Facebook Events.
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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